Elite Political Donors Dig Deep

In this update: 1. “527s” rake in record cash from elite Wisconsin donors 2. Legislation aimed at saving public access television 3. Iowa out in front on corporate accountability for political spending Elite Political Donors Dig Deep

Email date: 3/8/10

In this update:
1. “527s” rake in record cash from elite Wisconsin donors
2. Legislation aimed at saving public access television
3. Iowa out in front on corporate accountability for political spending

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“527s” rake in record cash from elite Wisconsin donors
The Democracy Campaign issued a report today showing record donations from Wisconsin contributors to so-called “527s” groups that specialize in negative political advertising and other outside electioneering activities. Audio commentary on our findings is available on our podcast, and related commentary is on our blog.

We’ve observed a time or two that the political economy seems recession proof. Today’s report helps show why Wisconsin donors gave more than $1.5 million to 527s in 2009, but all that money came from just 452 wealthy individuals, corporations and labor unions. And more than half of the total came from the top two contributors.

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Legislation aimed at saving public access television
Legislation enacted last session known as the “Video Competition Act” that deregulated the cable television industry in Wisconsin effectively amounted to a death sentence for public access TV. Now there is an Assembly bill that will soon get a committee vote, as well as a companion bill in the Senate, aimed at saving community access television. The Democracy Campaign strongly supports this effort.

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Iowa out in front on corporate accountability for political spending
With a Senate bill set to get a public hearing Wednesday, the Wisconsin Legislature is starting to look at the issue of corporate accountability for political spending in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s January ruling invalidating any limits on corporate spending on elections. Iowa is well ahead of Wisconsin on this front, with its state Senate already having passed legislation.